“’Ouns!” ejaculated Terence, in alarm, “would you turn snitch on your old pal, Quilt?”
“Ay, if he plays a-cross,” returned Quilt. “Come along, my sly shaver. With all your cunning, we’re more than a match for you.”
“But not for me,” growled Terence, in an under tone.
“Remember!” cried Quilt, as he forced the captive along.
“Remember the devil!” retorted Terence, who had recovered his natural audacity. “Do you think I’m afeard of a beggarly thief-taker and his myrmidons? Not I. Master Thames Ditton, I’ll do your biddin’; and you, Misther Quilt Arnold, may do your worst, I defy you.”
“Dog!” exclaimed Quilt, turning fiercely upon him, “do you threaten?”
But the watchman eluded his grasp, and, mingling with the crowd, disappeared.
Saint Giles’s Round-house.
Saint Giles’s Round-house was an old detached fabric, standing in an angle of Kendrick Yard. Originally built, as its name imports, in a cylindrical form, like a modern Martello tower, it had undergone, from time to time, so many alterations, that its symmetry was, in a great measure, destroyed. Bulging out more in the middle than at the two extremities, it resembled an enormous cask set on its end,—a sort of Heidelberg tun on a large scale,—and this resemblance was increased by the small circular aperture—it hardly deserved to be called a door—pierced, like the bung-hole of a barrell, through the side of the structure, at some distance from the ground, and approached by a flight of wooden steps. The prison was two stories high, with a flat roof surmounted by a gilt vane fashioned like a key; and, possessing considerable internal accommodation, it had, in its day, lodged some thousands of disorderly personages. The windows were small, and strongly grated, looking, in front, on Kendrick Yard, and, at the back, upon the spacious burial-ground of Saint Giles’s Church. Lights gleamed from the lower rooms, and, on a nearer approach to the building, the sound of revelry might be heard from within.
Warned of the approach of the prisoners by the increased clamour, Sharples, who was busied in distributing the Marquis’s donation, affected to throw the remainder of the money among the crowd, though, in reality, he kept back a couple of guineas, which he slipped into his sleeve, and running hastily up the steps, unlocked the door. He was followed, more leisurely, by the prisoners; and, during their ascent, Jack Sheppard made a second attempt to escape by ducking suddenly down, and endeavouring to pass under his conductor’s legs. The dress of the dwarfish Jew was not, however, favourable to this expedient. Jack was caught, as in a trap, by the pendant tails of Abraham’s long frock; and, instead of obtaining his release by his ingenuity, he only got a sound thrashing.
Sharples received them at the threshold, and holding his lantern towards the prisoners to acquaint himself with their features, nodded to Quilt, between whom and himself some secret understanding seemed to subsist, and then closed and barred the door.